In the Bible's book of Romans, apostle Paul talks about the struggle, between his spiritual life and the desires of his earthly body. Children raised in a religious home often face challenges to their beliefs as they become teenagers. Today's Dayton Youth Radio story from DaMarion Spencer helps us remember that even Jesus and the disciples were teenagers.
I play multiple positions in baseball like second base and pitcher. I love music, and I’m a very religious teenager.
I want other teens to know that you're not lame for being religious. My story is about the struggle, the universal that all Christians go through. Most teens or kids are reckless, and just don't care sometimes about their behavior. Me on the other hand, I always have this voice in my head asking me, is this pleasing in the eyes of God? I find it a constant struggle and continually beat myself up about it.
It's believed that I'm smarter and wiser beyond my year, and that I have a calling to preach the Gospel, My grandparents have footage of me doing sermons in their dining room as a 4 year old boy with a small podium my grandfather built me.
“You always wanted to pray, you always wanted to preach. You always was mocking me when I preached," says my grandfather, Rev. Ronald Bailey Sr, a minister. I lived with him and my grandmother until I was 5 so he was a strong role in the development of my religious ways. “Well it is something special about you, about your spirit that's within you that other people see in you, that you may not see in you....you had that good spirit within you, you remind of myself at that age.”
We're not that uptight. We're not the “you can't do anything” Christians, but I have always felt extra pressure to be right all the time. I have always struggled with the ways of this world and my Christian beliefs. Things like social media, music and sometimes sexual urges have always troubled me.
I first started Instagram this summer, before my freshman year. I was nervous; I thought I would never get a lot of followers and my friends would make fun of me. I was caught off guard by a spam account with inappropriate pictures of a woman. I didn't want anything to do with it, but I found myself being attracted to the pictures before ultimately reporting and blocking it.
I was listening to a song by Migos with explicit lyrics and enjoying it...then it happened.
I thought, is this pleasing to God, and how do you think he would react to you listening to such secular music? I felt God would be ashamed, and I felt that if I didn't change that music, I would have to answer to God about it later. I paused the song and debated in my head for thirty minutes about what I should do: listen to the song because I really liked it or go to the gospel music I liked, like Kirk Franklin. I ended up not listening to anything.
My grandfather brought me two giant study bibles that I find myself using sometimes, but I don't feel like I use them often enough.
“I feel that you have a lot ahead of you as long as you stay on the path, that you on right now and don't let nobody persuade you, or fall under your peers' influence and follow your own mind and be a leader and not a follower, you should go far and be able to do whatever you need to do. And you always know that you have the Lord by your side, as long as you following his will. I'm very proud of you, man," says my grandfather.
In the end, I learned that everyone is flawed, and it's our mistakes and sometimes our sins that make us better in the end and that I don't have to be perfect right away and God doesn't expect me to be.
DaMarion Spencer at Stivers School for the Arts. Special thanks Leslie Rogers and Eva Maksutis of the Creative Writing Magnet. Learn more at the school's website: http://www.stivers.org/ Support for Dayton Youth Radio comes from the Virginia W. Kettering Foundation and the Ohio Arts Council.